The rescue of Brett Archibald
It will be one of the most intense stories you’ll ever read.
Overboard in the Indian Ocean
In the middle of the night, on the 17th of April 2013, Brett Archibald, a 50-year old South African, fell overboard into the Indian Ocean. It was on a birthday surfing trip and everyone on board was sick from food poisoning. This is the reason why Brett’s absence was only noticed eight hours later.
28 hours in the water
In the end, he was in the water for 20 more hours before he was rescued.
Bad weather and a lack of an emergency plan hindered his rescue, as well as the fact that nobody knew exactly where he fell overboard. In fact, finding the proverbial needle in the haystack would have been easier than finding Brett Archibald in the open ocean.
The will to live
But he was rescued and his story is one of hope and perseverance.
Brett decided that he would not just give up. Yes, his chances of rescue were very slim, but he was resolute not to succumb to the elements.
He was a strong swimmer and a surfer and he knew water conditions. He was firm in his decision: he will try to stay alive, either until he dies or was rescued.
Alone in the water for 28 hours, he sang to himself, went through his book- and CD collections, fought off seagulls and cried over a shark.
(When the blacktip reef shark bumped into him, he knew as a keen surfer, that this species was no threat to humans. But, in his fragile mental condition, after 15 hours in the water, he grabbed onto a new hope: the shark could tow him to a reef if he could just grab him and hold on. But, devastatingly, the shark swam away.)
123 Suicides per day in America
In spite of inspiring stories such as the one of Brett Archibald and his overwhelming will to live, it is a sad fact that suicide is very real in America.
Each year, almost 45,000 Americans die by taking their own lives. But, more disturbing, is the fact that for every ‘successful suicide’, there are 25 unsuccessful attempts.
Do the quick math: if all attempts were successful, way more than a million Americans would die every year by committing suicide. Overall, demographic figures show that suicide is on the rise.
Suicide is one of our causes
This is what grabbed us here at Largest Heart to choose suicide as one of our causes to support in 2019.
For every Brett Archibald (optimistic and determined not to ever give up), there are hundreds of people, isolated and seeing no way out. They feel they are not loved, that life is not meaningful and that the world will be a better place without them.
We want to help
In helping non-profit organizations in the fight against suicide, we hope to raise awareness of this dreadful condition. Every suicide touches a host of other relationships: family, friends, co-workers, and communities.
If people can be made aware of the signs to look out for and where to look for help, it is a step in the right direction. Even if only one suicide can be prevented, we have achieved our aim.
Brett went back to sea after being rescued. In fact, the very next day, he was back on his surfboard and in the water. He just had to get back, to prove to himself that he won the ocean and that the ordeal did not break him.
There are so many others without this strength of mind and fortitude. But, perhaps they can be helped if they are to realize they are not alone. Help us to help them. Donate today and let your light shine to those living in darkness.
Alone: Lost overboard in the Indian Ocean by Brett Archibald